Hughes rues disruptions

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Blackburn manager Mark Hughes praised Everton's defensive performance but admits his team's injury problems caught up with them at Goodison Park.

Andrew Johnson's 10th minute goal was sufficient to hand The Toffees all three points in a 1-0 win over Rovers.

Hughes admitted his side failed to get going in the first half, with the Welshman lamenting the early withdrawal of David Dunn.

Hughes was satisfied with the pressure his side exerted in the second period, but Rovers' best attempts to engineer an equaliser floundered on the hosts' well-drilled defence.

"It was difficult for us and first half we were slow out of the blocks, perhaps because of the internationals," Hughes told Sky Sports.

"Then we lost David Dunn and our gameplan went out of the window.

"Second half we were a lot better but defensively Everton were rock solid today.

"I'm disappointed we didn't get something out of the game. We wanted to leapfrog them but as it turns out we've lost ground on them."

Hughes admits injuries have hampered his team.

"We were struggling today, Aaron (Mokoena) was out, Brett (Emerton) had to have a fitness test and it wasn't my intention for Tugay to play 90 minutes but my options were limited when David went off.

"It's hurting us but we've had it all season but we've got an important one on Wednesday and we hope to have a few players back."

Hughes expects Dunn to be fit for Wednesday's Uefa Cup clash at Bayer Leverkusen after revealing the midfielder suffered only a dead leg after taking a knock on his hip.